By Ken Robbins, Response Mine Interactive (RMI)
The amazing thing about business is that having more smart corporate executives in a company can actually lead to an increase in dumb decisions that lose money and confuse or irritate customers. Corporate policy, financial targets and even the organization itself often create unintended consequences from decisions that alienate customers and impede profits.
From start-up companies to the Fortune 100, most bad decisions come down to the company not having a basic go-to-market strategy that is known and understood by every manager and leader. The absence of such a well-understood strategy leaves companies with conflicts in their day-to-day decision making. This leads to businesses ignoring loyal customers; disregarding better margins; creating marketing and advertising programs that overlook profits and new customers; and employing marketing practices that annoy consumers.
As a business owner, customer acquisition is the most essential strategy in your marketing arsenal. A high-value customer is someone who is going to buy more, complain less, refer friends and colleagues, and then buy again. Converting leads into high-value customers is the single most powerful lever in your marketing process.
Before embarking on a customer acquisition program ask yourself these five questions:
1) How many new customers did we acquire last month?
2) How do we irrirate our customers?
3) What’s the difference between average customers and best customers?
4) What are our conversion rates?
5) What do our best customers like to buy from us?
There are more than 30 search marketing tactics that we use at RMI to help our clients acquire more customers while better aligning their marketing with process and strategy. By focusing on all of these tactics – not just bidding – we have been able to generate billions of dollars in revenue for our clients over the past decade. These tactics are divided into four categories, all centered around measurement. Let’s begin with creative.
Creative: Google, and all the search engines, want the best content to rise to the top. Best content is always that which is most relevant to the users’ queries. That means creative, varied by keyword, is the most powerful set of tactics you can employ. Some tips: Insert keywords in description. Put brand of product in title. Organize keywords in more ad groups.
Keywords and Match Types: Never start off with broad match. When the strategy pendulum swings in the other direction with only exact match in the account, you end up cutting out too much volume. There is a way to get both. Set up every keyword to run on all three match types. Some other tips for keywords: Buy plurals. Buy misspellings. Go very long tail. For match types: Buy every keyword on exact match. Buy the same keywords on multiple match types and track separately.
Bidding: Bidding is the most powerful lever you can pull to increase or decrease volume quickly. That’s why it is so overused. Simple stated, you should raise the winners in your campaign and lower the losers. Some tips: Manage budget by day of week. Adjust bids seasonally. Raise/lower bids by ROI.
Measurement: Measure everything. Measure the clicks, sales and calls by keyword. This is the only way you can tell if the keyword is productive and profitable. Some other tips: Measure at ad group level. Measure assist of non-brand to brand. Measure ROI at keyword level.
So, how do you increase customer growth and drive long-term profits for your company? Align your marketing with your business process and strategy. Make sure everyone within your organization understands your go-to-market plan. Invest in acquiring more customers and focus on the lifetime value of the customer. Above all else, efficiently acquire high-value customers. Now that’s the killer business strategy.
Ken will be presenting “How to Acquire More Customers: The Killer Business Strategy” during the upcoming DMA ATL luncheon on May 19 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Maggiano’s Perimeter. To register for the event, click here.
About the Author
Ken Robbins is the founder and president of Response Mine Interactive (RMI), an Atlanta-based, award-winning digital agency that helps clients acquire more customers using direct response digital marketing.
For the past decade, Ken and his team have generated billions of dollars in revenue for leading brands in the b2b, healthcare, travel, and home services channels. Some of his agency’s clients include: The Home Depot, Rooms To Go, Carter’s, Osh Kosh B’gosh, Liberty Medical, The Scooter Store, Education First Educational Tours, Maid Brigade, Terminix and formerly Staples, Travelzoo and Hallmark.
With more than 26 years of combined sales and marketing experience, Ken is a well-respected marketing guru and business strategist that has spoken at more than a dozen tradeshows, conferences and events. He is a sought-after business and marketing resource for a variety of leading industry publications and is a contributor to the book, The Digital Media Innovation Playbook, due to hit shelves in August 2011. Ken is also a guest marketing and business lecturer at Emory University and The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
When Ken is not with his wife and three children, you’ll find him playing Words with Friends, Twittering or sitting stoically at a poker table.
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